As one of the densest and busiest cities in the United States, Hoboken is a hazardous place for unwary bicyclist, pedestrians, and drivers—with myriad personal injuries taking places as a result of city accidents. The bustling province of Hoboken is relatively tiny geographically and is also titled the “Mile Square” city. Though its total area blankets over two miles, nearly 50,000 residents occupy this small area, resulting in severe dangers and congestion for both bike riders and pedestrians.
To keep Hoboken and its occupants safe while out and about, New Jersey has a particular statute on the rules of drivers and pedestrians. The Courts are also using a model jury charge in trials involving personal injury claims. The Model Jury Charge indicates:
“5.32C Duty of Pedestrians and Drivers Crossing at Marked and Unmarked Crosswalks
Bearing in mind the general duty previously detailed (Model Civil Charge 5.30 G-2), all habitants are obliged to note the following statutory provisions concerning pedestrians moving from marked or unmarked crosswalks, a slice of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Act. These notions are mentioned in N.J.S.A. 39:4-36, which instructs vehicle drivers to yield the right of way to any pedestrians crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at any intersection in the city.
The motorist shall halt and remain still to permit pedestrians to take the roads within the marked crosswalk, or within one lane of “half the roadway” upon the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is going to turn. “Half of the roadway” instructs all traffic lanes conveying traffic is one direction of travel and encompasses the full width of a one-way roadway.
Below are safety guidelines to abide by when active in Hoboken:
Safety Tips for Pedestrians to Avoid Accidents
- Before crossing, obey all signs, lights, and signals.
- On street corners, cross at crosswalks or intersections only and not in the middle of the block, and follow any signals.
- To stay conscious of your surroundings, stay off of any devices when crossing the street.
- On street corners, note that parked cars can make a barrier that can block a driver’s view of you
- Be sure to look left-right-left prior to crossing a street.
- As drivers approach, make eye contact with them. Never assume a driver sees you.
Safety Tips for Driers to Avoid Accidents
- When entering or turning a intersection or crosswalk, be prepared to stop
- When checking behind your car and backing up, exercise caution. Pedestrians, particularly young children, can move across your path.
- Be on high alert for pedestrians crossing streets and walking in crosswalks, even when you have a green light, as the pedestrian crossing the same street may also have the clearance to walk.
- Always slow down or stop and the crosswalk stop line to allow drivers in other lanes an opportunity to yield and see the pedestrians as well.
- The signals and signage are not always clear on all streets in Hoboken. Hence, do not rely entirely on them and take particular care.
With regards to bicycles, the City of Hoboken has enacted safety rules to make riding safer and easier for bicyclist and others. In these rules, the laws guide cyclists to (1) ride in the direction of traffic, not against it; (2) stop for pedestrians and all crosswalks; (3) stop at red lights and stop signs; (4) if riding under speed limits, use marked bike lanes; (5) ride no faster than pedestrian walking speed while riding on sidewalks and yield to pedestrians; (6) use visibility and safety equipment: front white light, red rear reflector, and bell (7) always wear a helmet.
Insurance Law in the Area of Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents is Perplexing
If you are injured in a bicycle or pedestrian accident by a vehicle in Hoboken or any other place in New Jersey, the insurance law is puzzling and complicated. Though you are a bicyclist or pedestrian and struck by a car, the personal injury protection coverage under your own vehicle policy may have to carry the medical expenses. Hence, you must inform your own vehicle insurance carrier and create a Personal Injury Protection claim and fill out their forms.
If you do not have any health or auto insurance, you may be entitled coverage from the state-funded New Jersey Property Liability Insurance Guaranty Association (PLIGA). There is a strict window of time for receiving insurance coverage under PLIGA, so you will have to confirm your claim is timely filed. You must complete the PLIGA form and have it filed within 180 days. If you are involved in an accident, be sure to contact a New Jersey attorney immediately to assist you with navigating through these legal concerns.